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How To Improve SEO Rankings by Optimizing for Entity Salience

Improve rankings by optimizing for entity salience

By analyzing entity salience with Google’s AI tools, and then optimizing their page content to achieve a higher salience, Content at Scale achieved 150K new organic visits a month.

Here’s exactly how they did it.

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The goal: Stop the traffic decline and improve rankings 

The team at Content at Scale noticed a sharp decline in their site’s organic traffic and rankings. The biggest loser of all was one of their top-performing pages, AI Detector, which saw a decrease of 32K clicks from May 2023 to June 2023.

The fast marketing tactic: Analyze entity salience to optimize the page content

The team first tried to improve organic performance by optimizing the AI Detector page with improved backlink anchors, alt text for images, shortened content, and more. However, none of those changes made an impact.

They then analyzed how the content was perceived by Google’s Natural Language AI, which understands pieces of content by relating them to “entities”. 

When the team used the Google tool to analyze the salience of the page for the “Content at Scale” entity (that is, how related the page is to their entity, or how unique it is to them), it delivered a poor score.

To improve this salience by displaying ownership and associating the page with Content at Scale, the team made small edits that showed that the tool belonged to them, including:

  • Changing a subheader from “AI Detector Introduction” to “Introduction to Our AI Detector”
  • Changing a line of text from “the AI Detector” to “our AI Detector”

The team continued replacing more sections of the text and analyzing salience to measure the impact each edit made.

The result: +150K organic visits a month and regained rankings

The decrease in traffic had begun in late May this year, and became worse in June. 

After applying the entity salience optimization over 8 weeks, the team was able not only to recover the traffic stats from May, but also increase them by 150K visits a month. The rankings also improved, and they climbed back to top-5 results for “AI detector.”

In September 2023, the page had the biggest increase in organic traffic and conversions for the SaaS company.

Organic clicks and impressions for Content and Scale, from April to October 2023

Why does it work?

Analyzing the salience score and entities that Google associates with your content can help you understand how it categorizes it.

In cases like Content at Scale’s AI Detector page, this analysis can show that a piece of content isn’t properly connected to your company’s entity. This is a decisive factor in how you rank for those search results.

How to implement this tactic yourself

Google’s Natural Language AI (formerly NLP) tool has since removed the salience feature, used by Content at Scale in this tactic, from their free tool.

There are free alternatives that can be used in its place for entity analysis, including TextRazor and IBM’s Watson Natural Language Understanding

Meet the specialist behind this tactic

Diana Richardson is the Marketing Manager at Content at Scale. She is also a public speaker and the host of the Tough Love Marketing podcast and has worked on SEO, PPC, social, and email marketing for over 15 years.

Follow Diana on LinkedIn for more insights.

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How To Improve SEO Rankings by Optimizing for Entity Salience